While most people enjoy music because it gives them a good, relaxed, and somewhat emotional feeling, for some people it is their life, the air they breathe. Placido Domingo, the Spanish-born tenor, has proven in so many ways how much music is part of his daily life. The numerous prizes and awards he has received are a sure proof of his immense abilities as a singer and conductor administrator. For those who don’t know Placido Domingo so well, this article is intended to help you learn more facts about the popular “King of Opera”.
Who is Placido Domingo? Biography, Age
The original name of Placido Domingo is José Plácido Domingo Embil. He is Spanish and was born on January 21, 1941, the son of Placido Domingo sen. and Pepita Embil Domingo, who are equally great singers of the Spanish lyrical genre of zarzuela.
Unlike many singers, whose passion for music gradually developed, Domingo’s passion was innate. According to his mother, they knew he would become a great singer at the age of five when they discovered that he could easily hum the complex music of Spanish operettas. Although he was born in the Retiro district of Madrid, Spain, he grew up in Mexico, where his parents later moved. You could say that this was the beginning of Domingo’s musical career – his parents formed their own zarzuela group, and Domingo had the opportunity to make his first appearance in his parents’ productions.
And not only that, Placido Domingo perfected his piano playing skills. He also trained at the National Conservatory of Music and in 1961 he made his debut as a professional tenor singer in Monterrey, Mexico, where he performed as “Alfredo”, the hero of La Traviata. In the same year, he made his debut in the United States, where he sang the role of Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor with the American opera ensemble Dallas Civic Opera.
In late 1962 Domingo signed his first contract with the Israeli National Opera in Tel Aviv. What was initially a six-month contract was later extended to two and a half years, during which Placido Domingo sang in 280 performances in 12 different roles. In 1965, when his contract with the Tel Aviv-based company was still valid, Domingo was engaged for his New York debut as Don José in Bizet’s Carmen at the New York City Opera. Domingo has not only appeared in several operas in New York City but has also made his debut with many companies throughout Europe. He was a guest at the Vienna State Opera in 1967, the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1968, the Hamburg State Opera in 1975, and many others. He has also appeared as a musical conductor at the world’s great opera houses.
Placido Domingo’s rise to fame, however, began in the 1980s, when he also gained recognition outside the world of opera. He recorded songs with great artists like John Denver, with whom he recorded the song Perhaps, Love. With his rise to fame as a singer, conductor, and one of the greatest tenor voices, Domingo began appearing on television, where he was interviewed on many talk shows and news broadcasts.
Placido Domingo has released three movies under his belt. The films include La Traviata and Otello by Franco Zeffirelli and Carmen by Francesco Rosi. His voice has also been heard in several films, such as the Disney film Beverly Hills Chihuahua in 2008, the educational cartoon Dora the Explorer in 2012, and the skeleton Jorge in the cartoon Book of Life in 2014. Shockingly, his television broadcast of Tosca from the authentic locations in Rome had over a billion viewers from 117 countries. Domingo sang the Olympic anthem at the closing ceremony of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona and performed at the closing ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. During Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the National Park and the Italian Embassy in Washington, D.C., Domingo used his voice to sing the special occasion.
Domingo’s Baritone Voice
Have you ever heard his baritone voice? Domingo certainly has one of the best baritone voices anyone has ever heard. The first proof of his baritone role was in Simon Boccanegra, which was performed on 24 October at the Berlin Staatsoper. This was followed by some 30 further performances at major opera houses around the world.
Placido Domingo Family
As we already know, Placido Domingo came from a family that was famous for being zarzuela singers. His mother, Pepita Embil Domingo, was a Spanish Basque soprano who premiered at the Teatro Liceo, the most important opera house in Barcelona. His father, however, was a Spanish zarzuela baritone. He is half Catalan and half Aragonese and began his singing career in Zaragoza, the capital of Aragon. He made his debut as a singer at the Parisian theatre in Zaragoza with the work Los Gavilanes. Both his father and mother joined a zarzuela company in 1946 and later founded their own company in Mexico City, Mexico.
Speaking of Domingo’s own family, he married his piano colleague Ana María Guerra Cué at the age of 16. They married on August 29, 1957, and a year later they had their first child, a boy named José Plácido Domingo Guerra. Joe, as he is called today, is a photographer.
Domingo separated from Maria and married Marta Ornelas on August 1, 1962; Matha was a lyrical soprano from Veracruz, Mexico, whom he met during his time at the conservatory. After their marriage, the couple often performed together at the Israel National Opera, and together they had two sons – Plácido Francisco (also known as Plácido Domingo Jr. and Alvaro Maurizio). Placido Domingo currently has a total of three children. All of his sons are doing as well as he himself. The family currently lives in Teaneck, New Jersey, but they often spend their breaks at their vacation home in Acapulco, Mexico.
Through his numerous appearances in many operas, in which he was praised for his “rich vocal talent” and his “effortless élan”, Domingo has not only earned fame but also financial growth. He has sung in all major opera houses around the world and has made an unprecedented number of recordings. It is estimated that Placido Domingo has made 80 operas, over 50 recordings, and a total of 1400 performances. For this, he has received 12 Grammy Awards, including three Latin Grammys. His net worth is estimated at 300 million dollars. People With Money in 2018 ranked him as the highest-paid singer in the world, with his annual income rising to $75 million between April 2017 and April 2018.
Domingo’s growth in wealth is not only related to his talent as a singer, but also to his numerous stock investments and lucrative endorsements such as that of CoverGirl cosmetics. He reportedly owns several restaurants such as the Fat Domingo Burger chain) in Madrid and also has a football team called Madrid Angels. He even launched his own vodka brand Pure Wonderdomingo – Spain. To all this is added his fashion line “Plácido Domingo Seduction”.